In Aug 2008 I stood before this council and introduced a plan that would move the CFH industry into a 21 st century management system . That plan would improve recreational management of the red snapper fishery and preserve a level of historical participation for millions of Saltwater anglers who accessed the EEZ on federally permitted vessels.Now ….aprox 2,400 days later ……I am standing here as this management plan is about to become law. It is exciting that CFH industry was committed to explore and initiate ideas that will increase access for millions of Americans.We saw a example of the effect on access , from good management systems with the EFP head boat presentation given yesterday and I know a industry led effort will be good for the fish , the angling public and the CFH industry. Yet as I stand here 2,400 days later, I marvel at the effort and resources used by the private boat lobby , to stop , thwart and destroy any attempt to improve management in recreational fisheries and offer zero solutions to improve their constituents access issues. In 2,400 days there has been not one single plan that specifically addresses many issues facing the private boat sector and how to develop a system of management that can identify the actual participate in the EEZ fishery or issues like .. How many times do they fish, what do they catch and how many? Instead from the private boat lobby we get outright lies, or misrepresentations of the truth , political maneuvering and zero focus on solving issues facing the private boat sector they claim to represent. They pervert the management process by promoting a scorched earth policy that is now being implemented by state commissions and directors. The state water loop hole was a strategy designed to create a level of chaos to generate a populist up rising to circumvent reasonable debate, the public process , federal law and any attempt at sound scientific management ideas. ….does the Florida net ban ring a bell? ….Its this loop hole that has reduced the EEZ fishery to zero recreational fishing days …..not the level of allocation I thought I had seen it all the past 2,400 days from this lobby until I read the state director plan heading to congress…. to out right steal the EEZ fishery from the public process and hand it to a 5 person group who will answer only to the folks with the biggest wallet in state politics. Talk about scorched earth , this is more like roasting a pig on a spit. In closing ! what this means to all professional fishermen , charter and commercial alike who represent access to 70% of the entire fishery that includes the US consumer and public saltwater anglers who fish with us , is this simple fact …. I will still be coming to this podium for the next 2,400 days and more to keep this IMORAL , GREEDY, and FISH HOARDING lobby from destroying the public access to hundreds of millions of citizens and tourist that come to the Gulf coast.For the next 2 thousand , 4 hundred days…and more Myself and other professional fishermen will fight for public access and fight for the families and fishing heritage of fishing communities like my home town of Destin Fl.
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